#NAOHOAstory…Jumping Fox


(1/4) I met these lovely ladies at Comic Con last year and one of them was looking to get a cute jumping fox tattoo. ๐ŸฆŠ #NAOHOAstory

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(3/4) If you’re unsure on where to get your tattoo, temporary tattoos can be printed to help you decide! They’re just ยฃ5 extra and adds peace of mind before getting the real deal. #NAOHOAstoryโ €

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(4/4) A fresh pic of the tattoo! ๐ŸฆŠ #NAOHOAstory

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#NAOHOAstory…Sun & Moon Become One

(1/3) Thisย @ripple_livingย @kickstarterย supporter wanted a sun and moon hybrid whilst supporting two local businesses!ย #NAOHOAstoryโ €

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(3/3) Finito~ This was so much fun to design and ink! Thanks for sitting so well for this rib piece โ˜€ An hour of this went towards funding @ripple_living, which has been open for nearly a year nowโ€ฆhow time flies! ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ’š #NAOHOAstory

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#NAOHOAstory…Dream (Catcher) Bride

Alexis and I met at the NatWest Accelerator Hub (Cardiff) and bonded right away. She runs a subscription business, where activity packs are sent to your home each month to encourage kids to express their creativity. In a world full of phones and tablets, Mila & Pheebs aim to make playtime tactile again!

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(1/5) This bride-to-be wanted a coverup on her wrist in time for the big day. ๐Ÿ’ย #NAOHOAstory

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(3/5) The old tattoo (left) was by another artist and had been through a few laser removal sessions. It was originally an emerald stone, in memory of her grandma, who left her a piece of jewellery with said stone…not happy with the result, she promptly asked me to cover it up when we met by chance at theย #NatWestAcceleratorย hub!ย #NAOHOAstoryโ €โ €โ €

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(4/5) Bye-bye old tattoo~ A dreamcatcher with her kids’ initials inside.ย #NAOHOAstory

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(5/5) A healed shot of Alexis’s tattoo on her wedding day! ๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’• #NAOHOAstory

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What Did She Think?

” Naomi did my cover up and I can’t recommend her enough. She was so professional, fully understood my idea and her attention to detail is impeccable. “

– Alexis C.



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#NAOHOAstory…Ghibli Tribute


(1/5) This client wanted to get a Ghibli-inspired tattoo before going on her adventure to South America ๐ŸŒŽย #NAOHOAstory

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(3/5) Here’s a shot fromย @elsielustyย when it was healing, usingย @saniderm. Check out her profile for more photography goodness. ๐Ÿ“ธย #NAOHOAstoryโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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For more information on Saniderm and how to apply it, click here.

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(4/5) Here it is, the finished and fully-healed Ghibli Tribute, all the way from sunny Columbia! ๐ŸŒžย #NAOHOAstoryโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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Thanks for taking these pics,ย @elsielustyย ! ๐Ÿ‘ˆ Check out her profile for travel photography and beautiful vistas via Stories. ๐ŸŒ„โ €โ €โ €

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(5/5) Bonus pic! It’s rare I get to see your tattoos outside of the studio. ๐Ÿ˜œ Here’s a shot of Elsie somewhere in sunny South America, with Ghibli goodness on her side. #NAOHOAstory
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What Did She Think?

” Thank you so much Naomi for my amazing piece. from start to finish naomi listened to my ideas and created a piece better than i couldยดve imagined. i will definitely be returning for another – canยดt recommend enough!! “

– Elsie L.



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#NAOHOAstory…Rasta Lion

If you’ve got an old tattoo you’re not too fond of, worry not! NAOHOA is no stranger to coverups, as you’ll see in the next few images…

(1/4) After spotting my lion tattoo that was on display at Comic Con, this client approached me to cover up, what his family had fondly dubbed, his “diseased donkey”. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿด๐Ÿฆ #NAOHOAstory

(2/4) Here are two design options I gave for his coverup. It was drawn on top of a faint photo of his existing tattoo from 20 years agoโ€ฆ#NAOHOAstory

(3/4) On the far left is the original tattoo from 20 years ago. In the first session (middle), I faded it out with skin-tone ink and put down the outline of my design. Once healed, I went over it with colour. ๐Ÿฆ #NAOHOAstory

(4/4) Bye-bye, Diseased Donkey! ๐Ÿ˜† ‘NP’ is in memory of his grandma, who was a reggae fan. Unfortunately, some of the original tattoo reemerged after the lion healed, but the client was happy with the overall look and wanted to keep it that way. The foliage was especially fun to ink! Thanks so much for trusting me with this piece, Gareth, and thanks to Showmasters for making our paths cross at Comic Con! โœŒ #NAOHOAstory

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What Did He Think Of It?

I cannot recommend NAOHOA enough! Naomi was able to cover up an absolute travesty of a tattoo that I’d been hiding for around 20 years. I am now so proud to walk around with an absolute stunner of a work-of-art on my arm. One draw back is I’ve found I do take my top off more now which is a little strange in the office! Naomi was great to deal with which is always good when you’re sat next to each other for hours on end, she makes you feel relaxed and comfortable during the whole process. 10/10, gold star, top marks!

Gareth P.
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March Meet The Maker 2019

Throughout March, I shared insights on the business via social media. Here, you can find them all in one space!

About Me

I’m Naomi Hoang, Tattoo Artist and founder of NAOHOA Luxury Bespoke Tattoos. I studied Fine Art and Graphic Design throughout my school years, before gaining a BA(Hons) in Illustration at the (then named) Arts University College in Bournemouth. A year after graduating, I managed to break into the gaming industry as an Illustrator and Concept Artist, before leaving it all and falling into the world of tattooing.

Here at NAOHOA, I get to know clients one-to-one so I can design tattoos that are truly unique and personal to them. Nowadays, I use an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to design these, as it’s much quicker. If you follow my Instagram Stories, you may catch me every now and then sharing updates or doing a Live stream, where you can chat with me while I draw! .

I’m a self-taught tattoo artist, since going down the apprentice route didn’t work out for me. A lot of people fret if they hear this bit too soon, so I often leave it out until they get to know my work. ๐Ÿ˜œ Tattooing is much like painting, so it didn’t take long for me to pick it up. ๐ŸŽจ

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How Did I Get Here?

As mentioned in my previous MMM post, the apprentice route didn’t work for me, so instead I undertook business training via Business in Focus (Cardiff) and any free sources I could find online.

Without a clue how to secure a premise, my adviser told me to simply knock on doors until someone let me in! Straight after my appointment with him, I walked around Cardiff, knocking on every salon door asking for a room to rent. So, so many people turned me down for being a tattoo artist, as if I’d be trouble. ๐Ÿ˜… Eventually, I stumbled at Leila & Violetta’s salon, which has since changed owner to Susan. It was unstable here for the first 2-3 years, due to conflicts between the first two owners, which put a tense vibe in the building. ๐Ÿ˜ž Also, I didn’t have the full room to myself, so 1/3 was ugly and too embarrassing to show (I didn’t even take a photo before painting it!)…I think these were blockers from me advertising too much as I wasn’t proud of my space, especially with “luxury” in the title. I’m defo grateful to my early clients for glazing over the dodgy walls and salon drama!! ๐Ÿ™ˆ

After the original salon owner left, I was finally able to redecorate this space.

Things are much better now, thankfully. ๐Ÿ˜Š It took a crazy intense 3 months to go from idea to fully functioning and licensed studio with basically no work experience in tattooing…all or nothing, eh? ๐Ÿคฃ Without a doubt it’s concerning how easy(…ish) it is to set up a space, but I’m also kinda glad, since I knew I had the skills to pull through and didn’t wanna put up with more BS I’d already been through in gaming and tattooing. Time to put a spin on things!! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

….and that’s how I became my own boss. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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Flat Lay / Tools

I’ve split this into three images of my essential equipment, based on type of use.

PREPARATION:

As you can see, I’m quite tech-heavy! I grew up with tech and gaming, thanks to an older brother who saw me (the youngest) as a last chance for a little bro, ended up with yet another sis, then decided to treat me like a bro anyway. ๐Ÿ˜†

From top left to right: iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, which I use to draw my designs (also used during Instagram Lives). Selfie Light for taking photos of tattoos and products (rarely for actual selfies, hah). Wireless mouse and wrist rest for when I’m doing admin and my compact Brother thermal stencil printer. I use a mix of the printer and old-school tracing out the stencil, depending on the design.

Then there’s my laptop (Dell XPs13), my trusty Contigo flask that has survived 6 years so far, and my personal phone. Besides the printer, I use these pretty much every day!

TATTOOING:

Organic, vegan-friendly ink by Japanese brand, Kuro Sumi. I love how bright, yet earthy their colours are. For black, I use Dynamic Color, as I find it much darker than Kuro Sumi’s. DC is vegan-friendly but not organic. Machines used are by British craftsman Wayne Taylor and well-established American brand, Bishop Rotary. I tend to use the former for shading and latter for lining.

SELF CARE:

Although I have decent posture; tattooing for long hours, designing and admin pretty much all involve sitting down and being hunched over. It really does a number on my body and mind if I don’t take steps to maintain them. I have a thick pilates mat on the left, which I use for working out and doing stretches. Gua Sha for applying pressure all over to improve circulation and a very spiky foam roller for deep-tissue massage around my body – especially for my back and glutes. Adorable bento box for lunch breaks, ’cause besides art, food is my life*! NeckSaviour to stretch out my neck and theย @calm app on my phone to meditate – clearing my mind so it has time to chill out. I use these every day.

* Check out my personal page for bento pics: @naomi.hoang๐Ÿฑ

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Work Outfitโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €

My uniform is black because it’s smart, sleek and gives consistency (…also more forgiving if ink lands on it!). When doing Consultations, I’m able to wear long sleeves, glasses, jewellery and leave my hair down. When tattooing, I opt for contact lenses, garments with shorter sleeves, remove jewellery and put my hair up with a stick to avoid distraction when working. ๐Ÿ˜Šโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €

On the right, I’m wearing a Vietnamese dress (Ao Dai) I designed specifically for work. It’s all-black with purple orchids that are on-brand. NAOHOA’s colour scheme is off-white, purple and occasionally pink and the logo is an orchid, because my Vietnamese name (Mai Lan – ‘Lan’ being an exerpt from ‘Phonglan’) is based on the Dendrobium Orchid. Ao Dai are often floor-length, but this one stops at the knee for more practical use.โ €โ €

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Brandingโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €

Design iterations

From day one, NAOHOA (all caps) was intended to be a brand – a platform for creativity and giving. I want to expand into different sectors over time, starting with tattoos, which is why the name is not attached to any given field. As some of you have figured out by now, NAOHOA consists of the first three letters from my first and second name: Naomi Hoang = NAOHOA. It took a while to figure out the right combination of letters to name my brand but once it appeared, that was it! โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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Here, you can see my attempts to figure out nice-sounding names based on my name (Vietnamese/Western/meanings behind them). Most were taken by other companies or people and although Nao Hoa is a Vietnamese name, NAOHOA wasn’t taken, so happy days! โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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You can read more in my blog post:โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
http://www.naohoa.com/naohoa-logoโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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Inspiration was drawn from luxury brands such asย @bezant_london,ย @shiseidoย andย @swarovskiย ๐Ÿ’Ž

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Closing Thoughts

Thanks for following my journey through this, folks! I hope they were interesting to read. ๐Ÿ˜Šโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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On July 3rd, NAOHOA will have been up-and-running for 4 whole years!! I cannot thank you enough for being here – especially during the early stages where I was finding my ground. Since the latter half of 2018, things have really taken off and I’ve finally hired an assistant to help with admin tasks (you’ll have seen her social media posts here and there lately). โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
It’s been a tumultuous journey of elating highs and devastating lows. Running a business is definitely not for the faint-hearted and I’m grateful to have help all around me – in particular, my parents and partner (Zan). Mum’s a Buddhist and gave me this statuette last year for the business, along with a beaded bracelet she had blessed by the head monk of the temple she attends. I wear it every day, along with a ring from Zan on my right hand as a reminder of their support. If it weren’t for them & few more, I’d have quit so. many. times. ๐Ÿ˜ As much as I love what I do and meeting all of you, sometimes the pressure of it all can really get to me, but they’ve egged me on and picked me up no matter how low I sank. Don’t worry, things have evened out over the last year, so I’m okay!! โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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NAOHOA has made me stronger as a person, taught me to appreciate and look after myself (…because no sick days) and enabled me to meet the most wonderful people. From fellow business owners to amazing clients who become friends, I truly am grateful to all of you. ๐Ÿ’›โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €
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So…how should I celebrate all this in July?! Post ideas via Instagram or Facebook! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Naomi xxxโ €โ €โ €


#NAOHOAstory…Catching a Wave ๐ŸŒŠ

(1/3) This passionate explorer wants to always keep the sea close to her… ๐ŸŒŠย 

(3/3) Managed to finish before this lovely client whisked away to catch another wave~ ๐ŸŒŠ

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What Did She Think?

I would thoroughly recommend NAOHOA whether you are going for a first tattoo or just want a beautiful custom piece designed by a truly talented artist. Naomi creates a wonderful tattoo experienceย โ˜บ๏ธย it’s the longest I’ve had to sit for thus far but the chat was easy and engaging and the process was pretty much as painless as it gets bearing in mind you’ve got a needle sticking in your skin!! Thanks a bunch, I’m sure I’ll be back!”

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#NAOHOAstory…Life’s Highlights


(1/3) This mountain-climbing, dog-loving client approached me for her first tattoo. ๐ŸŒ„๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ’•
(3/3) A fond reminder of all the things she loves~ ๐Ÿ˜Œ #NAOHOAstory
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#NAOHOAstory…Always With Me

(1/3) I met this lovely lady whilst buying a coffee! She’d always wanted a tattoo in memory of her mother but didn’t feel comfortable in having it until we met…#NAOHOAstoryโ €

(3/3) R.I.P…๐Ÿ˜”๐ŸŽ— #NAOHOAstoryโ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € .โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € .โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € Generally speaking, I avoid asking questions that are too personal, as it’s up to you how much you want to share or withhold* – just as I avoid initiating hugs, as I feel it would be unprofessional of me to do so (it’s okay if you want a hug – I get that having a tattoo can be an emotional process!). I can’t imagine what her journey was like through such loss, and was amazed at her strength and kindness.โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € .โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € .โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € …without a doubt, your mum would be so very proud of you. ๐Ÿ’•โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € .โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € .โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €โ € * information shared here is strictly confidential.โ €โ €โ €โ €โ €

This client gave me a sketch to work from, but I forgot to add it to the video.ย ๐Ÿ™ˆ

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